LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party lost two parliamentary seats on Friday, prompting the party’s leader to resign and renew doubts about Britain’s troubled leader’s future.
Losses in one of the Conservatives’ traditional southern hubs and in the North England constituency that Labor won in the last election – suggest that the electoral alliance that Johnson brought together in the 2019 national election may have broken down.
Transferring Johnson from election victory to electoral responsibility could prompt lawmakers to move against him again after months of slander against the Covit-19 lockdown parties and amid a growing cost-of-living crisis.
Johnson opposed intense pressure to resign after being fined for violating lockdown rules in his Downing Street office, and rejected the idea that he would step down if his ruling party failed in the so-called by-elections.
“It is absolutely true that we have had some difficult by-election results … I think as a government I have to listen to what people have to say,” Johnson told broadcasters after the results.
“We need to recognize that we still have a lot to do … until we reach this patch we will continue to address people’s concerns.”
Johnson is currently out of the country in Rwanda at the Commonwealth meeting.
He escaped a confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers this month, although 41% of his parliamentary colleagues voted to oust him, and a panel is investigating whether he deliberately misled parliament.
Following the losses in Dverton and Honidon in the south of England and Wakefield in the north, Oliver Dowd, the leader of the Conservative Party, resigned, saying things needed to change.
“Yesterday’s parliamentary by-election had the worst results for our party. Our supporters are frustrated by the recent events and I share their feelings, ”Dowden said in a letter of resignation to Johnson.
“It simply came to our notice then. Someone has to take responsibility, in this situation, I have decided that it is not right for me to continue in office.
Several Conservative lawmakers tweeted in support of Dowden, saying he was not responsible for the results of news reports suggesting a renaissance against Johnson’s leadership.
While Johnson could not be challenged with a no-confidence resolution for another year under the rules of his party, lawmakers may decide to reduce the offer period for fear of their own future and bring another referendum.
The resignation wave from Johnson’s top cabinet is seen as another way to oust the prime minister.
The next national election is scheduled for 2024, but it could be called earlier.
The Conservatives lost a majority of more than 24,000 votes in the deep conservative parts of southwestern England, in Diverton and Honidon, where they were defeated by the central Liberal Democrats by a majority of over 6,000.
The Liberal Democrats claimed it was the vast majority that had been overthrown in the British parliamentary by-elections, with other Conservative lawmakers at risk of losing their seats in the party’s southern center.
In his victory speech, Johnson said, “Go, go now.”
“Because Boris Johnson is stuck in the office every day, he brings more shame, confusion and neglect,” he said.
In Wakefield’s separate parliamentary seat in the north of England, the main opposition Labor Party also defeated the Conservative Party.
“Wakefield has shown that the country has lost faith in the Tories. This decision is a clear verdict for the Conservative Party, which lacks energy and ideas, ”Labor leader Khair Stormer said in a statement.
Johnson led the Conservatives to an overwhelming majority in the Thirty years of the 2019 national election, receiving praise from his party for his ability to win in traditionally labor-intensive constituencies in the north and central UK.
The loss of Wakefield, however, may indicate that his ability to win back these areas in the next national election in 2024 has been compromised.
The by-elections were triggered by the resignation of a number of Conservative lawmakers – one admitting he had seen pornography in parliament and the other accusing him of sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Report by Alistair Smouth in London, Additional Report by Andrew McSkill in Kigali; Editing by Elizabeth Piper and Toby Chopra